Thursday, 06 June 2013
Tom Lewis  (Getty Images)
Tom Lewis (Getty Images)
Tom Lewis returned to form in stunning style as the Englishman took the first round lead at the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.

The Englishman won the Portugal Masters on only his third professional start two years ago, but has not had a top ten finish in a strokeplay event since.

That could be set to change, however, after a flawless nine under par 63 at Diamond Country Club.

"It's a great start,” said the former amateur star, who came into the event on the back of six consecutive missed cuts. “I had some good fortune around the 17th and 18th, which was my front nine, and that made the back nine more relaxed. I holed a lot of putts, which was really the only difference between today and the rest of the year.

"This year's been tough but I've been very close and shown a lot of good stuff. Today it all came together and if I can have three more rounds like that I'll be alright.

"I always seem to throw in a double bogey in a round or a tournament and it pushes me out of contention. I've got to try to limit the mistakes and not get too down on myself, and I've been working hard on that with a lot of people. I've got a lot of support from friends and family, and good coaches, so with a bit of talent I've got no excuses.

"We travel so much and there's so many different places, grasses, time differences - it can get to a lot of players. Some weeks you're feeling great and some weeks you're not. I need to turn the great weeks into really great weeks, and the not so great weeks I need to grind it out.

"I've got high expectations and not very much patience. Because I've struggled the last year or so I've lowered my expectations, which has been a good thing and has got my confidence back up. Hopefully I can get off to a good start tomorrow and make a few birdies early on. If I mistake a few mistakes - which I will this week - I just need to not get down on myself and I'll be fine."

Dutchman Joost Luiten is two behind on seven under, with France’s Alexander Levy alongside English trio Graeme Storm, Simon Dyson and Richard McEvoy on six under.

The 27 year old Luiten, who like Lewis recorded his only European Tour victory in 2011, started with five birdies in his first six holes before adding three further gains and a bogey at the long 13th over the remainder of his round.

"It always feels good to have a great score in the first round,” said Luiten. “I was four under after four and that keeps the round going. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and the putter was my best friend today.

"The course is starting to dry out but you don't get any roll on the ball. The greens are very good so you can really make some putts. The weather was perfect today and there was no wind, which was good because when it's windy it's a very tough golf course.

"I played well two years ago which was my first and only time here. I finished third, so I know I can play well on this course and I showed it again today.

"It doesn't matter who's the favourite, you just have to go out and shoot as low a score as possible."

Former Open de France champion Storm had a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh to turn in 32, gained another shot at the short 11th, chipped to two feet at the long 13th and fired a magnificent approach to six feet at the 14th, only for a bogey at the last to spoil his card somewhat.

"I stayed very composed and tee to green I played as well as I could have,” said Storm, whose only European Tour title came back in 2007. “I think I only missed three greens and I holed a few nice putts.

"I felt as though I could have shot eight under today, but I missed a couple of chances.

"It's slightly disappointing bogeying the last as I had the perfect yardage for a six iron. I just pulled it a bit, which I did with a couple of irons in the last few holes, so I'll be going to the range after lunch to fix that.

"Other than that I played great all day. I had a nice little run on seven, eight and nine, and should have birdied the tenth as well.”

Challenge Tour graduate Levy has made only two cuts so far in his rookie European Tour campaign, but impressed with seven birdies before, like Storm, bogeying the last.

Already the oldest winner in European Tour history, Spain's Miguel Angel Jiménez set about breaking his own record with a five under par 67, while defending champion Bernd Wiesberger had consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh as he opened with a four under par 68.

"I'm not ecstatic, but it's a good start,” said home favourite Wiesberger. “I kept it together well and had to scramble a lot, especially on my front nine. On the back nine I had a few chances and managed to take a few of them.

"I started with a 71 last year so this is three better. Hopefully that means I can get to 20 under this time."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUITEN, JoostNED18-17
2BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-15
T3LIANG, Wen-chongCHN18-14
T3WATTEL, RomainFRA18-14
T5WARING, PaulENG18-13

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